Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed Tuesday what President Donald Trump claimed Monday: the agency will begin deporting millions of illegal immigrants.
Acting ICE director Mark Morgan said it isn’t feasible to send back all of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in one action, but he told The Hill that the massive job will be getting underway.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in,” Trump tweeted Monday.
Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people…….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
Morgan said it is all a question of having the people available to complete the large task ahead. A Pew Research Center study released last week, indicated that there were 10.5 million illegal immigrants in the United States in 2017. (RELATED: 2019 On Track To Experience Highest Level Of Illegal Immigration In A Decade)
“So clearly, we don’t have the resources to deport, you know, 11 million people in a short period of time,” Morgan told The Hill. “But we have and we remove people every single year. And we’re going to continue to do that.”
Trump’s drive to reduce illegal immigration should also be helped by Mexico’s agreement to better monitor and police its border with the United States — a promise achieved after the president threatened to impose a 5% tariff on Mexican exports.
Morgan said ICE intends to prosecute non-criminal illegal aliens but will go after criminal illegal aliens first.
“Because then we’re sending this message that if you belong to a certain demographic, and you come here illegally, and you stay here illegally, even after you receive due process in order [to be removed], then the message is: if you’re in that demographic, you will never be touched. What’s going to happen? The incentive is so strong, they’re going to keep coming.”
Morgan blamed Congress for withholding funds from the agency’s immigration enforcement budget and for slandering ICE as a brutal force that should be shut down.
“You have lawmakers saying how horrible ICE is and how it needs to be abolished … that makes it really challenging for a law enforcement organization to do that,” Morgan told The Hill.
On Monday New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sounded off on ICE and said the agency’s detention facilities are “running concentration camps on our southern border.” Her claim led many to infer that she was comparing ICE’s detention facilities to the concentration camps of the Nazis in World War II. (RELATED: Auschwitz Museum Reaches Out To MSNBC’s Chris Hayes After He Defends Ocasio-Cortez)
“It’s a lot harder to call somebody a name, to call somebody a Nazi, or say somebody is a liar, I think it’s a lot harder to say that when you actually have a relationship, when they actually get to know the person that’s behind the badge,” Morgan added. “I’ve learned that throughout my years.”